There is a special Assessment and Referral Court List (ARC List) at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to deal with defendants with mental health, intellectual or other disabilities who satisfy certain criteria, including diagnostic, functional and need criteria (s 4T Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 (Vic) (‘MC Act’)).
Magistrates sitting in the ARC List have various powers to deal with such defendants, including adjourning the hearing for the preparation of an individual support plan (s 4U MC Act). Magistrates can also discharge a defendant without a finding of guilt if the defendant completes an individual support plan (s 4Y MC Act). Pleas of ‘not guilty’ are to be transferred out of the ARC List to a contested hearing in the court (s 4X MC Act).
For more information about the ARC List, see www.mcv.vic.gov.au/about-us/assessment-and-referral-court-arc, and ‘Assessment and Referral Court’ in Chapter 8.3: Disability and criminal justice.